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Backlog: The Embiggening – August, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 07/28/19 at 03:45 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! As August – a month saturated with witchcraft, in which we celebrate the birthday of the best, least-biased game reviewer on the Internet on Lammas Sabbath – rolls in, we bid a fond farewell to Summer, even though it’s still too hot to do anything but sit inside and play videogames. Sad teachers everywhere are being pulled back into the trenches of World War Student, as they prepare to put their firearms training to good, practical use. But what is the videogame industry doing? Pushing crap, as usual!

Out of 18 scheduled August releases, 5 are shovel-ready. Of these, the minority are licensed things based on movies and/or TV shows, with a port of the licensed “Friday the 13th: The Game” (and, as a friendly reminder, I’ll point out that whenever a game has ‘The Game’ in the title, you know it’s (not) quality), as well as the latest entry in the venerable ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ series, based on the card game based on the anime based on the manga of the same name. I have an admitted weakness for ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!,’ and I haven’t played a new official videogame in the series in a decade, so I’ll probably try to snag a copy. I wonder if they still come with promotional cards? Anyway, the bulk of shovelware releases in August are annual licensed Sports titles, with ‘Madden Football,’ ‘MX Grand Prix,’ and a Switch port of not-quite-a-real-sport ‘Snooker’ sharing the field.

Speaking of the Switch and ports, yup, August is, once again, proving that the two terms are practically synonymous. 7 of the 18 August releases are ports, compilations, or otherwise rehashed stuff. The Switch is leading the port parade with 4 of those releases: “Bubsy: Paws on Fire!,” “Terraria,” “Collection of Mana,” and “Guacamelee! One-Two Punch Collection,” the latter of which will be shared with the PS4. The old King of Ports will also be getting Korean MMO “Black Desert Online,” while PlayStation VR will be getting “The Wizards.” Lastly, PS4 and XBONE will be sharing last year’s PC timed exclusive “Wreckfest.”

With crap taking up the majority of August’s releases (as usual), we’ve only got 4 legit multi-platform releases coming this month. I definitely have no interest in “The Dark Pictures – Man of Medan,” since it is, essentially, a sequel to the awful “Until Dawn,” only no longer PlayStation exclusive. I also have no interest in the latest sequel in the aged ‘Age of Wonders’ series, “Age of Wonders: Planetfall,” as I find the entire genre tiring. Nor do I have any interest in “CryStar,” an incredibly depressing, incredibly Japanese Action RPG. Lastly, we’ve got a new Action/Adventure title in “Control,” by Remedy, the dev studio behind “Alan Wake” and “Quantum Break,” so I’ll probably ignore it too, unless it generates a ton of community buzz.

Finally, we come to the month’s 2 exclusives, both for the Nintendo Switch. First up is timed-exclusive MOBA, “Killer Queen Black,” which, as a Team PvP game, is actually offensive to my sensibilities. Lastly, there’s “Astral Chain,” the latest Platinum Games-developed ‘Character Action’ title whose promotional footage did absolutely nothing to pique my interest.

Blech! THIS is the very definition of Summer Game Drought! The only title releasing in August that I’d even consider playing is “Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution,” but, honestly, I’m not too psyched about spending $60 (Nintendo Tax) on a virtual card game that I’ve already played the hell out of.

Backlog Embiggened: +0 (doubtfully +1)

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